SEARCH THE WORD “checkerboard” on the Vans online store and 465 different shoes follow one another. Since the 1970s, when Steve Van Doren (son of Vans founder Paul) noticed kids coloring their slip-ons to make them look like checkerboards, the California shoe empire has been synonymous with pattern. Hundreds of two-tone shoes aren’t shocking, that’s what you expect from Vans. The fact that the brand offers such an abundance of checkered styles is a testament to the lasting appeal of its signature motif with suburban skater types and moms.
What has become noticeable, however, is how checkerboard styles that extend far beyond Vans have taken over department stores and high fashion catwalks over the past couple of years. Surrealist green and white checkered suits and bags have featured in the latest collections of Louis Vuitton’s men’s line. ASOS sells a buffet of more affordable checkerboard hair clips, skirts, cardigans and other accessories for those who want to build a complete square pattern wardrobe. New York newcomers Wray and Zankov specialize in matching primary color checkered shirt sets and intricate deco check sweaters, respectively.